Monday, November 15, 2010

My Apologies to Junction

Crossing the North Llano River a few miles west of Junction marks the end of the desert and the beginning of the Hill Country.  I look forward to stopping in Junction (at the confluence of the North and South Llano Rivers) for the Pecan store just off the highway and a coffee shop down the street.  (Also used to be a cool cowgirl store called Crosses and Conchos, but it sadly closed). 

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This trip the weather was so perfect and the trees were so beautiful that I decided to stay over night at the KOA by the river.  I got all settled in (read…took a nap) and then went exploring.

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This is where the apology becomes necessary. I had mistakenly assumed that the street with my coffee shop stop was the whole town. That would be wrong.  Turns out Junction is the county seat of Kimble County and while not as fancy as some, the courthouse sits in the center of town surrounded by lovely old trees.

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Sadly, it is also surrounded by many empty store fronts.  It would be so cool to see the little towns bustling with activity again.   Maybe even a movie playing at the Texan!

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This bridge, built in 1937, spans Lake Junction on the South Llano.  It has a very modern pedestrian lane completely separate from traffic.

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Looking upstream from the bridge is Lover’s Leap.  There’s a golf course along the river under Lover’s Leap that based on my golfing ability should probably be named Golfer’s Leap.

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The dam was built in 1965 to supple domestic water.  It’s maybe 20 feet high, more like a weir, with big abutments on each end.  This whole area is completely open to the public.  I bet the kids love to walk across the dam (giving the water folks fits!).

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On one side of the lake is the City park and on the other is the County park.  Looking down river my van is parked on the City side.

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On a Saturday afternoon in November the rope swing wasn’t getting much action. 

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So now I know more about Junction, it’s a neat little town. I will surly go back, and not just because it’s on the way to Austin.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saguaro National Park

My redwoods and bristle cone pines are going to have to make room for the saguaros.  I am so in awe of these spectacular plants and got a brief introduction to them by driving the 8 mile loop.

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There are many turn outs and over looks along the road to get good looks at the saguaros.  (Great trails too, but those will have to wait for more time).

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At the top of the loop the terrain becomes more rocky.  These are called the Javelina Rocks.

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There are two sections of the Park  just outside the city limits of Tucson.  I visited the east side on my way to Interstate 10.  And looking across the park to Tucson in the distance, R and J’s house is on the very far side of the city at the base of the mountains. What a marvelous place to live!

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zinnias and Mexican Sage

My zinnias have been a happy spot of color all summer and now the Mexican Sage is blooming too.  I’m sad to leave them, but hope the birds will enjoy the seeds for a few months.

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(Had to put up the wire to keep the wild turkeys from digging up the plants :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

California Gold

Quaking aspens are changing at higher elevations.

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And down by the river a Black Oak.

(I’m packing to leave for Austin next week, probably no posts for awhile :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Field Trips are Fun

Super Nephew G attends Chinese Camp School.  There are two rooms, one for K, 1st and 2nd;  the other for 3rd through 6th grade.  The 7th and 8th graders go to Jamestown now.  (Several generations of our family have attended school in Chinese Camp, but I’ll save that for another post!).

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I got to go with the ‘big kids’ on a field trip to Bell Meadow and the Clavey River.  They learned about the Tuolumne River watershed.

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And how rocks become soil.

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A stop to rock climb resulted in a great find…..Indian grinding stones!

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After lunch we hiked down the Clavey River to a very cool location called the “Tubs”.

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After time playing along the river it was time to stop and record thoughts and feelings in journals.

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Super Nephew G was really concentrating.  I wonder what he wrote?

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The rivers create these ‘tubs’ in the granite through out the Sierra.  They are the quintessential swimming holes in the summer,  not today!

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Doug, the class mascot, was ready for a rest while the kids wrote in their journals.

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There was time for one last stop to skip rocks across a pool on our hike out of the canyon.

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These kids are really lucky to have Miss Betz, who so clearly loves the mountains, as their teach at tiny Chinese Camp School.